By random chance, we stumbled upon the latest batch of US$18.99 / SGD$33 Kingston 4GB value sticks which are now equipped with Hynix CFR chips, usually found in high end memory kits costing twice or more. How well did they perform?
Kingston ValueRams (KVRs) are the de facto choice of most system integrators and budget DIY enthusiasts, offering bargain basement prices for the various memory types, speeds and capacities, without the fancy heatsink or Intel XMP support found on the expensive memory kits. Although its overclocking potential has mostly been unspectacular due to the use of bottom-barrel components to keep the cost low, famous overclocking-friendly memory chipsets such as Micron D9 and Elpida BBSE have slipped into some production batches in the past, much to the delight of bargain hunters like yours truly.
The unassuming US$18.99 (NewEgg) / SGD$33 (PC Themes) memory module (KVR16N11/4) we have here today has a blue PCB equipped on both sides with Hynix CFR chips which are very popular with today's overclockers thanks to its ability to scale its clock frequency with increased voltages, while keeping relatively tight subtimings. By default, it is rated at the JEDEC compliant 1600MHz 11-11-11-28 @ 1.5v which is already good enough not to be a noticeable bottleneck on both Intel and AMD architectures.
During our quick test run on a Ivy Bridge 3770K/Maximus V Formula setup, we pumped 1.75V on the VDIMMs and could comfortably run a pair of these at 2400MHz on relatively loose CL10 timings, which is in the domain of memory kits costing twice or more. We'll try to tune somemore when we have time (quite busy this week with a CPU and GPU launch). Word of caution though – As with any overclocking, your mileage may vary!
All in all, its pretty good but not quite in the same league as the equally priced Samsung 4GB Green 1.35v that we've featured in our Maximus V Gene Review. Still, unlike the Samsungs, the Hynix based Kingstons will boot on almost all Z77 motherboards…